We love mangoes in tacos and dessert. We’ll even add them to guacamole or drink them in a cocktail. Yep, there are plenty of ways we love to eat this juicy tropical fruit. The only way we don’t like it? When it’s rock hard and ruins our dinner plans. Next time you’re at the store, here’s how to tell if a mango is ripe.
How to pick a ripe mango:
Finding an already-ripe mango at the grocery store can be tricky, but there are two factors to keep in mind: feel and smell.
Feel: You know the way you usually test whether or not a peach or avocado is ripe? The same rules apply here. Give your mango a gentle squeeze—if it’s ripe, it should have a little give. If it’s totally solid, then it’s not ready yet, and if it’s really soft, well, that’s one mature mango (i.e., too ripe). You also want to pick a fruit that feels heavy for its size, since this is usually a good indicator that it’s ready to eat.
Smell: Sniff the fruit by its stem—sometimes a ripe mango will have a fruity aroma that’s similar to what it tastes like. But note, this isn’t always the case, so if there’s no smell, rely on the touch test instead. One thing you definitely don’t want? A sour or alcoholic odor—that’s a sign that the mango is overly ripe.
What color is a ripe mango?
Green, yellow, pink...mangoes come in a variety of colors. But whatever shade the fruit you’re holding in your hands, know that it’s not the most important factor in determining ripeness. Mangoes typically transition from green to some variation of yellow-orange, but it depends on the varietal of fruit. You’re better off using feel and smell to find the one.
Should mangoes be refrigerated?
You get home from the grocery and immediately stash that mango in the fridge. But wait a second—is it ripe?
Ripe mangoes should be kept in the fridge; this will halt the ripening process and keep the fruit from turning to mush. But if that mango is the slightest bit underripe, you’ll want to keep it at room temperature until it’s soft and ready to eat. Exposing it to cold temperatures (like your fridge) before it’s ripe will upset the process and lead to unpleasant texture changes.
If you’ve brought home a ready-to-eat mango (lucky you), don’t put that guy on the counter—store it in the fridge until it’s mango o’clock. A whole, ripe mango can be stored in the fridge for five days.
What’s the fastest way to ripen a mango?
If you pick an underripe mango, leave it on the countertop for a few days and it will ripen on its own. If your mango cravings are urgent, place the mango in a brown paper bag with a banana, roll it shut and keep it on your counter. Mangoes are sensitive to ethylene, an odorless gas that speeds up the ripening process. The paper bag traps the gas, which means your mango should be ripe in a couple of days (or less, so check every day).